CDC Issues New Guidance on Workplace Testing

To test or not to test?  The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued new guidance for employers to consider when engaging in COVID-19 viral testing under several common scenarios.  The new guidance (available HERE) emphasizes that employer should be strategic and have plan in place for testing.  Here’s what the guidance covers along with some things you may want to consider:

  • An employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19;
    • Consider: Do you have a plan for what to do if an employee has a fever after a routine daily check at work?
  • An employee has been exposed to the virus;
    • Consider: Do you have a plan to notify other employees if someone has been exposed, but not yet tested positive?
  • An employee is returning from work after being infected;
    • Consider: Does your office have a policy about how long an employee is required to be out of work after a positive test?

Adding viral testing to things you may already be doing, such as temperature checks, is an additional layer of protection for your employees, customers, and clients, which will be advantageous in the event of any OSHA or other public health audits.  Viral testing for COVID-19 can be a useful component of your company’s prevention and infection control program, but you should consider putting plans and guidelines in place before the need for viral testing arises.

It’s important to remember that CDC guidelines are continuing to evolve and must be read in connection with guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), state and federal Departments of Labor and the Governor’s Executive Orders. Have you read the most recent one strengthening the order on face coverings? (Read it HERE).  Before implementing a policy, you’re encouraged to touch base with legal counsel.

This article is not legal advice but should be considered as general guidance in the area of employment and corporate law. Amy DieterichJordan Payne Hay, and James  F. Pross are employment and labor law attorneys; others at the firm handle business and other matters. Since 1853, Skelton Taintor & Abbott has provided a full range of high-quality legal services to the individuals, companies, and municipalities of Maine. The firm’s main office is located in Auburn and in January 2019, a mid-coast office was opened in Waldoboro.